ALDF Petitions to Stop Puppy Gassing in North CarolinaPosted on April 15, 2014
Animal Advocates Ask Tar Heel State’s Ag Board to Prohibit Painful Euthanasia Method
For immediate release:
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a petition for rulemaking with the North Carolina Board of Agriculture and the Office of Administrative Hearings to prohibit the routine use of carbon monoxide for euthanasia or “gassing” at animal shelters. ALDF believes that it is no longer legal to routinely use carbon monoxide on cats and dogs at shelters because all recognized animal welfare organizations now disapprove of euthanasia by gassing, and state regulations should reflect this change to the law. The method has drawn strong criticism from animal health experts because animals are often crammed in small enclosures in which they sense the coming gas, panic together, and take an unnecessarily long time to die. Therefore, carbon monoxide may only be used under extraordinary circumstances, according to the petition, with guidelines recommended by the recognized organizations.
Euthanasia by gassing is not recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Humane Association has stated that gassing is “inhumane to the animal and harmful to humans.” This controversial method of destroying animals is already outlawed in numerous states; many North Carolina shelters have voluntarily ceased this practice.
Data collected in 2011 through North Carolina’s Spay and Neuter Reimbursement Program indicates state euthanasia rates at 70% of animals admitted to shelters. According to the 2013 AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, shelters should minimize distress experienced by animals. The guidelines state that “euthanasia of companion animals is best conducted in quiet, familiar environments when practical and although it may be considered for natural disasters and catastrophes, in general does not recommend euthanasia by carbon monoxide for companion animals because of the distress it causes to the animals as well as the emotional and medical risk to the humans conducting the gassing.” The AVMA also indicates that euthanizing large numbers of animals on a regular basis may result in symptoms of “compassion fatigue”—a psychological response from repeated exposure to traumatic experience.
“Animals in shelters deserve the most humane treatment we can provide and death by gassing is not it,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The law reflects this fact and we are asking the Board to ensure all shelters follow this rule.”
Copies of the petition are available upon request.